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Talking

  • It is all right to say exactly what you think if you have learned to think exactly.

  • Why is it that when anything goes without saying, it never does?

  • If they were only free thinkers, but they are free speakers!

    • Natalie Clifford Barney,
    • "Scatterings" (1910), in Anna Livia, ed., A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney ()
  • ... speech is inseparably associated with every phase of personal and business life. It is universal and it is one of the most decisive factors in our success or failure.

  • She mistook his stolidness for depth, and it was a long time before she realized that his silence was not due to the weight of his thoughts but to the fact that he had nothing to say.

  • Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.

  • The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.

  • Her tongue is hung in de middle and works both ways.

  • They ... talk simply because they think sound is more manageable than silence.

  • ... women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself — like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks ...

  • Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact ...

  • I do not like talking casually to people — it does not interest me — and most of them are unwilling to talk at all seriously.

  • ... she talked continually — and talking almost always smothers thinking.

  • There's nothing in all the world as much fun as talk. When you're talking, that is, with the right person.

  • Rhetoric never won a revolution yet.

  • When a reserved person once begins to talk, nothing can stop him; and he does not want to have to listen, until he has quite finished his unfamiliar exertion.

  • Recreational talking is, along with private singing, one of our saddest recent losses. Like singing, talking has become a job for trained professionals, who are paid considerable sums of money to do it on television and radio while we sit silently listening or, if we're truly lonely and determined, call the station and sit holding the phone waiting for a chance to contribute our two cents' worth.

  • If you can't add to the discussion, don't subtract by talking.

  • She probably labored under the common delusion that you made things better by talking about them.

  • Aunt Mimi possessed a horror of silence, which she battled with endless chat. The Typhoid Mary of the Telephone started her calls at 6:30 each morning.

  • ... it hath been a long and true observation, that every one had rather speak than listen to what another says; insomuch as for the most part all mankind run from company to company, not to learn, but to talk, and like bells their tongues as the clappers keep a jangling noise all at once, without method or distinction.

    • Margaret Cavendish,
    • Duchess of Newcastle, epistle, Nature's Pictures Drawn by Fancies Pencil to the Life ()
  • And Mr. Shelby, not knowing any other way of enforcing his ideas, raised his voice, — a mode of arguing very convenient and convincing, when a gentleman is discussing matters of business with his wife.

  • If you have anything to tell me of importance, for God's sake begin at the end.

  • ... talking too much is a far greater social fault than talking too little.

  • The less said the better.

  • People with theories of life are, perhaps, the most relentless of their kind, for no time or place is sacred from their devastating elucidations.

  • She is excellent at heart, and as full of energy as of kindness; but I fear she wears herself out, — chiefly with talking. She cannot now moderate the habit; but I really fear she will shorten her days by it. On this account, it is well that she lives alone.

    • Harriet Martineau,
    • letter to Anna Jameson (1841), in Valerie Sanders, ed., Harriet Martineau: Selected Letters ()
  • ... Molly was in the mood when the need to talk — to let oneself go — is so great that the choice of a listener is little more than an accident.

  • He went on endlessly, overcome by the facile volubility of a weak nature.

  • ... who has not experienced, at some time or other, that words had all the relief of tears?

  • I write — and talk — in order to find out what I think.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • 1965, in David Rieff, ed., As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh ()
  • I think we should not try so hard to talk. Sometimes it is wise to let things grow more roots before one blows them away with words.

  • I like people who refuse to speak until they are ready to speak.

  • You kin tame a bear. You kin tame a wild-cat and you kin tame a panther. ... You kin tame arything, son, excusin' the human tongue.

  • Like all talkers, she thought other people talked too much ...

  • Nervous alarms should always be communicated, that they may be dissipated.

  • Which is it, I wonder, do I talk too much or does it merely seem to people that I talk too much? And which of those alternatives is the most disagreeable?

  • ... whenever possible I avoid talking. Reprieve from talking is my idea of a holiday. At risk of seeming unsociable, which I am, I admit I love to be left in a beatific trance, when I am in one. Friendly Romans recognize that wish.

  • ... when these incorrigible talkers are compelled to be quiet, is it not evident that they are not silent because they are listening to what is said, but because they are thinking of what they themselves shall say when they can seize the first lucky interval, for which they are so narrowly watching?

    • Hannah More,
    • "Conversation," Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education ()
  • No thing makes any difference as long as some one is listening while they are talking. If the same person does the talking and the listening why so much the better there is just by so much the greater concentration. One may really indeed say that that is the essence of genius, of being most intensely alive, that is being one who is at the same time talking and listening. It is really that that makes one a genius. And it is necessary if you are to be really and truly alive it is necessary to be at once talking and listening, doing both things, not as if there were one thing, not as if they were two things, but doing them, well if you like, like the motor going inside and the car moving, they are part of the same thing.

  • One never discusses anything with anybody who can understand one discusses things with people who cannot understand.

  • Mrs. Marshall-Smith, continuing steadily to talk (on the theory that talking prevents too great concentration of thought), and making the round of all the possible things to say ...

  • A good rule for discussion is to use hard facts and a soft voice.

  • ... sometimes too much talk / can kill a thing.

  • Nine times out of ten, talking is a way of avoiding doing things.

  • Mouths talk without authority sometimes ...

  • It is always better to say too little than too much.

  • All really frank people are amusing, and would remain so if they could remember that other people may sometimes want to be frank and amusing too.

  • ... Harry drowned his sorrows in talk, as other men drown theirs in wine, or in sport, or in taking some violent step. He intoxicated and soothed himself with conversation.

  • The aging process seems to strike first at the mechanism which warns that we have been talking too much and the listener is growing restless. The signal isn't perfect at any age — drink, for instance, throws it right out of kilter — but it is almost non-existent in old people.

  • Don't confuse being stimulating with being blunt ...

  • My mind works so fast. When I think of something I say it. Lots of times I say it even before I think of it.

    • Gracie Allen,
    • in Cheryl Blythe and Susan Sackett, Say Goodnight, Gracie! ()
  • She had learnt ... that it was impossible to discuss issues civilly with a person who insisted on referring to himself as 'we.'

  • When there is too much to say it is easier to say nothing at all.

  • His tongue did his thinking for him. Other people's talk struck words from him like a light from a match. His phrases were quick and ready-made and soon forgotten, but he feared a silence and they filled it.

  • He had always talked too much; was a bad listener — almost a non-listener, for he simply waited without patience for others to stop talking so that he might cap their story. Well, hurry up, hurry up, he would think. Get a move on with it, man. I got something to say myself on those lines. If you go drivelling on much longer, chances are I'll forget it.

  • She was like a recorded telephone message — she didn't listen, she only spoke.

  • Every human being is in need of talking to somebody. In this country nobody has time. It seems that talking to a friend has gone out of style. Now you have to pay money to go to an analyst.

  • Small talk is the biggest talk we do.

  • Like all silent men, I am an incessant talker. I talk so much in an endless monologue in my own mind, explaining meself to meself, explaining things (in me own mind) to your aunt, answering back customers (in me own mind) and talking to beautiful women about my soul (in me own mind) and addressing huge cheering crowds about my ideas on how the country should be run (in my imagination) that when it comes to loosening me mortal tongue in reel life, sure there's not an ounce of talk left in me.

  • But I am a-eppisodin' and a-eppisodin' to a length and depth almost onpresidented and onheard on — and to resoom, and go on.

  • An idiot / Will always / Talk a lot.

  • Say what you will in two / Words and get through. / Long, frilly / Palaver is silly.

  • ... it takes the very wisest person there is to know when to talk, and when to keep still.

  • Whether in private conversation or in a group — if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody!

  • Talkers expand like bread dough.

  • Chauncy Burr ... talks well, possibly better than he thinks. But this is a common failing.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1851, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Mis' Bickles's got more sense than you'd think from lookin' at her, and a tongue what tells all it knows and makes up what it don't.

  • Nothing shows the kind of fool you are as quick as your tongue.

  • 'Banter? what's that, man?' 'Why Sir, talking very much, and meaning just nothing; be full of words without any connexion, sence, or conclusion.'

  • He believed that the majority of the people who sought his advice really were hungry to be listened to and he insisted that talk was an outlet to be made available and free to all. 'Mental gangrene isn't a disease of the garrulous,' he liked to say.

  • I have sometimes believed that I could see shadows spread under people's eyes when they were being frantically bored. I have seen faces age and sag under the onslaught of amiable extroversion ...

  • ... people do not react to what you say; instead, they react to how you say what you say.

  • Why can't they ever let my wanderings alone?! Can't they understand that I'll talk it all to pieces if I have to tell about it. Then it's gone, and when I try to remember what it really was like, I remember only my own story.

  • I am always afraid of talk and charm. You can talk anything into prestige. The talker rules the world.

  • Don't say any of it. You'll only be sorry later. Discussing things hardens them, makes them more real than they need to be.

  • 'I suppose it's no use my saying anything ... ' he began, which usually meant he was going to have quite a lot to say.

  • People liked to talk; there were very few exceptions; the question was how you made them do it. Some ... were amenable to alcohol; others liked a spotlight; and then there were those who merely needed proximity to another conscious human being.

  • [At age 11:] Adults like to talk much more than children do. The longest hours in life are when your mother has you by the hand and stops to talk to some friend of hers on the street.

    • Jennifer Owsley,
    • "A Handy Guide to Grownups," in The Reader's Digest Treasury of Humor ()
  • A person who talks fast often says things she hasn't thought of yet.

  • And the air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. Big Things lurk unsaid inside.

  • ... he talks so much, you don't hardly know what he really thinks.

  • ... Dorothy looked at me and looked at me and she really said she thought my brains were a miracle. I mean she said my brains reminded her of a radio because you listen to it for days and days and you get discouradged and just when you are getting ready to smash it, something comes out that is a masterpiece.

  • There are very few people who don't become more interesting when they stop talking.

  • ... small talk is not about facts or words. It's about music, about melody. Small talk is about putting people at ease. It's about making comforting noises together like cats purring, children humming, or groups chanting.

  • Talking's just a nervous habit.

  • The talkers are rising above the thinkers.

  • My impression is that the people who say most understand least.

  • ... neither of them ever / said what they meant / and i guess nobody ever does.

  • He's never at a loss for a word, though he very seldom says anything worth hearing.

  • When women are supposed to be quiet, a talkative woman is a woman who talks at all.

  • ... Lord Beaconsfield in his later years talked little when in society — men of his stamp, although they possess the gold of conversation, seldom have its small change.

  • As towards most other things of which we have but little personal experience (foreigners, or socialists, or aristocrats, as the case may be), there is a degree of vague ill-will towards what is called Thinking. ... I am tempted to believe that much of the mischief thus laid at the door of that poor unknown quantity Thinking is really due to its ubiquitous twin-brother Talking.

    • Vernon Lee,
    • "Against Talking," Hortus Vitae ()
  • He talks for the pleasure of his own voice, the way dogs bark and birds sing.

  • ... she was delivering a household harangue, which, in its style, imitated very closely some of our distinguished poets, being, like their rhymes, diffusive and digressive, a bundle of words concealing the idea, if any there were, as effectually as the covering of the cocoa-nut conceals the kernel.

  • ... she was ... never known to finish a sentence. She always got lost in the thickets of secondary thoughts that sprang up round her simple remarks ...

  • The less you talk, the more you're listened to.

  • Isn't it boring ... how people always want to tell you their own stories instead of listening to yours? I suppose that's why psychiatrists are better than friends; the paid listener doesn't interrupt with his own experiences.

  • She talked fast, as if conversation cost money.

  • So few people can think and talk at the same time.

  • Our talk began with luncheon, reached a climax at tea, and by dinner we were staggering with it. By five o'clock in the morning we were unconscious but still talking.

  • Keep skid chains on your tongue. Say less than you think. Cultivate a pleasant voice. How you say it is often more important than what you say.

  • I love a lot of things, a whole lot of things / Like / My cousin comes to visit and you know he's from the South /'Cause every word he says just kind of slides out of his mouth / I like the way he whistles and I like the way he walks / But honey, let me tell you that I love the way he talks.

  • Small talk has an image problem. It's hard to take it seriously. After all, it's small talk, isn't it? ... But mastering small talk skills is more important in today's business environment than ever before.

    • Lynne Waymon,
    • in Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon, Great Connections ()
  • If no one hears you, are you even talking?